Dec 8, 2012

ABLE Guide: Elements of a Self-Organizing Classroom


Dear Readers, This is a work in progress as I develop the The Self-Organizing Classroom - A Quickstart Guide to Agile Based Learning Environments

Please email or comment your feedback so I can make this as educator-friendly as possible.  Thank you for your help in developing the future!




A self-organizing classroom is one in which student self-directedness and collaboration intersect. A Self-Organizing Classroom energizes and engages learners and allows for novel learning opportunities that emerge bottom up from the classroom interaction itself. There are 7 elements of a Self-Organizing Classroom. 
  1. Engagement: pursues a state of flow in which the classroom balances  perceived challenges to perceived skill.
  2. Relatedness: establishes positive connections to each other, relates to a sense of purpose, and provides relevancy to the real world.
  3. Achievement: pursues continuous improvement and shared commitment to accomplish clear and negotiable outcomes.
  4. Autonomy: provides incremental increases to student empowerment, gradually stretching the classroom capacity for autonomy. Learners "pull" their work over work being "pushed" onto them.
  5. Agile: rapidly inspects and adapts the learning environment to the changing social, emotional, physiological and cognitive states of the classroom.
  6. Visible: the classroom is filled with highly visible artifacts that reflects realtime progress of learning and collaboration.
  7. Kinetic: is rich with physical and verbal energy that is harnessed towards collaboratively achieving shared goals.

The elements are a inspired by Positive PsychologyFlow State TheorySelf-Determination TheoryVAK/VARK Learning Model, research on teaching best practices, and influences from  Agile and Lean Methodologies.


The Agile Based Learning Environment's roles, artifacts, events, and agreements provides practical guidance on how to actualize these elements every day to achieve a Self-Organizing Classroom.